The Colombian drug cartels used Caribbean islands extensively in the 1980s as part of their smuggling routes to Florida. Looks like Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel is moving in the same direction.
The Dominican Republic ambassador to Washington, Anibal de Castro, had some interesting observations about this in testimony he gave Feb. 1 before the Senate drug caucus. Here is part of what he said:
“Recent public declarations by President Fernandez have confirmed that the authorities have detected cells of Mexican criminal factions in the northern regions of the Dominican Republic, specifically of the Sinaloa Cartel. The recent murders of a Spanish citizen, three Colombians and a Venezuelan are apparently linked to this trafficking organization, which might be operating in Santiago, La Vega and Jarabacoa.
“The president of the (Dominican Drug Control Agency), Rolando Rosado Mateo, has indicated that the Sinaloa Cartel might be receiving assistance from Dominican criminal groups in the Cibao region to acquire chemicals used for the fabrication of narcotics. This information was obtained through the capture of Luis Fernando Bertolucci Castillo, a Mexican trafficker who claimed that the Sinaloa cartel is seeking to create a route to Europe using the Dominican Republic. After his detention and interrogation, he was extradited to the U.S.”
I can’t find much on Bertolucci Castillo except that he was busted along with some Colombians and a Lebanese, who are allegedly involved in money-laundering in Massachusetts. One of the suspects was extradited to the U.S. last summer. Here is more background on the case in Spanish (scroll down to Julio 12, martes).
And here is a lengthy, interesting article from Global Post on the subject.
Item: I'm aware that Anibal de Castro's testimony carries the date Feb. 1, 2011, but am sure it is misdated by one year as it refers to events in late 2011.